By now, you guys all know that food isn’t as simple as farm to grocery store. There are all kinds of forces shaping the way we eat and the way we think about food, which contributes to the obesity problem in America. From lack of access to healthy produce, to labeling regulations, to the kind of food cafeterias are mandated to feed children, there is a whole lot more than personal choice going on when people sit down to a meal. This stuff is complicated. Even the experts are confused. So what’s a college student to do?
Take a class on it, of course.
This semester, Macalester is offering a Political Science topics course where 27 students, including me, will be unraveling some of the mysteries of our food system.
There are about a million things that are wonderful about this class- I’ll start with a few:
-This class is limited to 27 students and there is only one section. If I were to venture a guess, at least double that number actively tried to get into it, and at least half of campus thought about taking it. I was on the waiting list for a week until I got in, and I couldn’t be happier. The mega interest in this topic means that we have more allies than ever in our crusade for health, and more and more people will discover the truth about food. Because of all the interest this year, they will probably offer the course again next year!
-The class is limited to so few students (it is actually a relatively big class for a school as small as Macalester) because we will be doing legislative outreach projects with local organizations, creating a plan to pass a policy initiative that would help their organization. This is a super-cool application of everything that we will be learning in class.
-We get to learn about so many different topics that pertain to our food choices. A sampling- the Farm Bill and subsidies, Big Food, fast food, school lunch, and obesity politics, as well as where we can go from here to create lasting policy change.
I have always been super into public policy, so I CAN’T WAIT to see all the wonderful things that are in store in this class. And no worries, I’ll keep you posted every step of the way!
Our Quotation of the Week is, “Forgetting, or not knowing in the first place, is what the industrial food chain is all about, the principal reason it is so opaque, for if we could see what lies on the far side of the increasingly high walls of our industrial agriculture, we would surely change the way we eat.”
--Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma (which I am super excited to read for class).
I promise to try to help you see over that high wall, and though it isn’t going to be pretty, we will tackle this stuff together and emerge better eaters and better thinkers.
For now, I’d better get to work on all that reading this class happens to have. :)
I’ll be checking in with you soon!
Love and Smiles,